evilforces – pest plagues & storms (2016)

when weeks pass by without a notable find, i expect an album to appear nowhere to sweep me off my feet, or rather smack me in the face. and you don’t see that every day. neither do you see the album in question. evilforces is seemingly located in mexico, a solo project of pazuzuh, ex-drummer of ex-isolated, a mexican death metal band. and his prowess in drums shines throughout.

his debut is titled “pest plagues & storms” and came out in the last days of 2016, on christmas day to be precise, perhaps aimed as a mockery. not only “all instruments and vocals”, but also “recording, mixing, mastering, cover art, layout, lyrics” by pazuzuh, who seems to take the “one man band” thing further. first thing, this is a difficult release to digest. it is packed to the brim with exciting black metal ideas and execution. this might even be its downfall; as he sways through a wide range of musical influences, frequently employing punk / thrash based groove, also serving delightful moments of nordic / pagan black metal, doom, dsbm, avant-garde metal etc., the 72-minute journey becomes one commanding much attention and energy. and this is a polite way of saying it tires the fuck out of you. this might be a first album issue and he may find a coherent direction in the future or just stick with the confusion, we’ll hopefully find out in the future.

in the debut though, the pieces are brought together by a careful utilisation of instrumental pieces. the “prologue” is, as expected, an impressive slow tempo opener, filled with satanic chanting, which continues to the second track “the maskim hul”. as much as it delivers the expected breakdown, the “new black metal” sounding and blast-beat filled song has too many start-stops, lacking the continuity of a typical opener. after the prologue and three rather short and groovy tunes comes “interlude”, a horror movie unsettler with piano and female singing. you know the ones in an open field, everything seems serene, but you have a deep unnerving feel that pain and death lurks ever closer… and he’s behind you.

as you’d expect, the following songs stretch out more, filled with hypnotic beats and tremolo, morgul’esque passages and black metal infused psychedelia. all four tracks that follow are magnificent. but nothing can prepare you for the closing 20-minute saga that is “forever in possession state (persecuted)”. opening with a storm and unsettled herd noises, ever so slowly building up through the rain to blast off in style, what follows is the stuff of nightmares. here we have a few delicious recurring hypnotic themes and an unlucky lady wailing throughout the song, successfully inflicting an unbelievable amount of anguish to the poor listener. an amazing track worthy of its own release. actually he could have easily produced 3 separate releases with the material present in the album.

and so far i have said nothing of the sound or the production, which frankly seem nothing like a debut. double-track tremolo / chord guitars and the bass sound is neat, but the drums deserve the highest praise. so thick and organic and oh those double bass drums… there’s a lack of keyboards but loads of effects and samples. on top of the multi-tracked grim black metal singing we have spoken word, chanting, death metal and clean singing and occasional female chant (as well as torture). the production is as neat as can be, a clean sound with just the right amount of grit. sounds german rather than mexican, actually.

a haunting, respect-demanding, exhaustive rollercoaster of a black metal achievement. demands another listen. and another. and… well you get the point.

prosternatur – abyssus abyssum invocat (2016)

these awesome black metal releases that catch me off guard feel like such nice gifts. the debut album, abyssus abyssum invocat was released just yesterday (tomorrow, officially) and i had the sheer luck and high honour to taste its majesty. we know little next to nothing about prosternatur, who like to follow the new trend amongst newcoming black metal acts to be as obscure and enigmatic as possible and who seem to originate from various locations in europe. however, the quality of production and musicianship means this must a supergroup.

as the name and cover art suggests, the band follow and occult theme and the prelude is a sample of beautiful chanting / invocation. then the song “mortification of the flesh” bursts with immense energy, a mid-tempo double drum and insane riffing. then gradually picks up the pace, with lengthy blast beat sections and closes with the same chanting before. the third, ridiculously heavy track relies heavily on main theme repetition, in the same vein as early morgul. things take a turn to the more atmospheric, grim, eerie and discomforting palette of black metal as the songs proceed. the fourth song “eleusinian mysteries” is painfully slow and carries the gloomy atmosphere supported by keyboards and ringing guitars. the fifth one “scrying mirror” is quite pacey and chaotic, filled with insane shifts and screaming. the epilogue “heterodox” carries a stark contrast to the beautiful and comforting prelude, nightmarish organ and distorted words, probably revealing the voice of the invocated who is now awaken.

the album has a thick guitar & drum structure throughout, supported in times by keyboards and effects. there has to be at least two vocalists (or vocal layers), one quite heavy and throaty black metal vocal along with a brutal / operatic one (attila csihar – like) and this duality further emphasises the chaos that rules. besides being masterfully composed and played, the band seem to have a clear idea as to what they wanted to do. through these 36 minutes of occult black metal feast they take you to places and the horror never lets go.